SAN JOSE - I hesitate to even write the word for fear it could crop up again.
But here it is for all to see. I've had the chipping yips off and on for about five years. My short game used to be the only thing I was truly good at on the golf course, so it's been frustrating watching my strength turn into a terrifying weakness.
To combat the issue, I've tried it all with varying degrees of success - lessons, putting from off the green, hybrid bump-and-runs and chipping with different clubs, especially lower-lofted irons like an 8-iron or a 9-iron. They all work ... until they don't. I've found a new weapon in my pursuit of getting up and down: the new PING ChipR.
The investment-cast, 431 stainless steel club is inspired by the PING Chipo, introduced by PING Founder Karsten Solheim in the late 1970s for golfers who struggled around the green. With the length of a putter (35 inches) and a loft closer to a 9-iron (38.5°), the ChipR is designed to be used on shots of 40 yards or less with a putting-like stroke, resulting in bump-and-runs that can be controlled.
I used it during a six-hole twilight round recently at Santa Teresa Golf Club and found it to be very effective. It's got a heavy feel, and the way its head lies flat on the ground promotes confidence. I wouldn't use it to chip a shot over a bunker, but for approaches through fairway runways leading to greens and rough just beyond the collar, the ball releases low like a putt. The munis I play have a lot of bare spots around greens, so this club should help me hit it solid without the fear of chunks or skulls. It's sold for $195 for a steel shaft or $210 for graphite.
TravisMathew partners with St. Andrews Links
A new relationship between TravisMathew and St Andrews Links began in August with the opening of a permanent TravisMathew store next to the iconic 18th hole at the Old Course and near to the historical Royal & Ancient clubhouse. The storefront will feature TravisMathew's most beloved styles, including new St. Andrews Links co-branded apparel. For those of us who can't get to St. Andrews to shop in the store, the cool new threads are available online. The new line contains stylish hats, golf gloves, a beanie and T shirts that are so super comfortable, I've already donated a few old T shirts that were past favorites to make room in my closet. These will be around a while. Cost: $29.95-$44.95.
10 new putters from PING
PING also introduced 10 new putter models Sept. 15, each individually designed with a different look and feel. They all offer high moment of inertia blades and ultra-forgiving multi-material mid-mallets and mallets. Each style caters to a different stroke. Traditional blades include the Anser, Kushin 4 and the new Anser 2D. The Tyne G sports a "gimme" ball-pickup feature. The DS72 Armlock is for players who have moved from a traditional grip to the armlock. The other models are the Prime Tyne 4, Shea, DS72, DS72 C, and the Tomcat 14. Cost: $300.
Golf Cart Phone Holder
Ever left your smart phone in a golf cart after the round or watched in horror as it almost popped out of the cart after a big bump? The new Cell Phone Seat can help you avoid both disasters. The flexible plastic device fits securely into any cup holder in a golf cart, car/truck or boat. Your phone can be held vertically or horizontally, allowing golfers to be hands-free while driving and still use their favorite golf app during the round. The best part of the design? That beer still fits into the cup holder. If you're not using it in your car, you'll have to store the Cell Phone Seat in the golf bag, but it's light and durable, so that shouldn't be an issue. The Tennessee-based company is veteran owned. Cost: $24.99.
Wearing A 'Plastic' Golf Shirt?
The recently-released adidas Golf Made To Be Remade men’s products are made from recycled plastic, taking sustainability on the golf course seriously. While a "plastic" shirt or pullover may sound awkward, they are actually very soft, durable and comfy. My Made To Be Remade Rib Collar Shirt is a cool color (pulse blue and white) and unique style. Its collar is almost like Tiger's infamous Mock Neck shirt but slightly modified. Besides the polo, a long sleeve and pullover are available. Cost: $85.
Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go attire
We all know packing for a golf trip is difficult, especially when you're traveling in the spring and fall or to a destination where you might face all sorts of weather. Every piece in the Jack Wolfskin Pack & Go Collection is ultra-light, stylishly minimal and impressively packable for adventures in any weather. The polo we requested was so popular it had sold out. It's lightweight, fast-wicking, odor resistant, soft and tucks into an included carry bag. To pack the Men's Lightweight Activewear Trousers, simply tuck them into the back pocket that transitions into a travel-ready pouch. There's all sorts of jackets, pullovers, pants and other wearables, too. We always recommend traveling with your golf clothes in a carry-on, so the airlines can't lose your luggage and lead to shopping headaches you don't need (the clubs are another story). If you do decide to check everything, you could put the Jack Wolfskin clothing in a carry-on backpack as a nice backup in case the airlines screw up again. Cost: Pants $89.95. Polo $50.99.
Another Golf Fashion Disruptor
Devereux Golf is another company rejecting the traditional look of what golfers have been wearing to the course for decades. We could have easily included it in our recent story on "7 Brands Shaking up Golf Fashion". The direct-to-consumer company comes in loud and proud. The look of the DVRX Away Polo compares to a European soccer fan gone golfing. The volume is turned up on its patterns of stripes and colors. The Skull Caddie looks great on shirts and hats (bucket and regular). A recent collaboration with Michelob Ultra (the Golf Bodega) is mostly sold out. Cost: Polo: $68. Bucket Hat: $35.